[Letter] Seoul Museum of Art lets downStanding outside for 20 minutes in 29 degrees Fahrenheit [minus 1.6 degrees Celsius] weather to see the “Andy Warhol, The Greatest” exhibit this past weekend was not pleasant. Nor were the 10 additional minutes we stood in line once inside Seoul Museum of Art.
Even though the exhibition has been underway for a month now, and will continue until April, I understand the wait. I’ve lived in Korea long enough (going on my third year) to expect crowded exhibition spaces, museums and art galleries.
Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the museum’s use of English. Nearly ALL of the text on the museum walls pertaining to Andy Warhol, his life, or his art was - I can only assume - entirely lost in translation from the Korean text displayed above.
I am the first to admit that my Korean skills are not up to par with my length of time in Korea. Although, the English grammar was so poor, if the exhibition wasn’t so crowded, I would have taken the time to read the Korean text instead.
In the second room of the exhibition, one wall reads: “Best thing about United States is made a tradition of most wealthy or poorest people have to live with the same living goods. Anyone can watch TV for a drink Coca-Cola. Also President and Liz Taylor drink Coca-Cola as well.”
Seriously, Seoul Museum of Art?
There are currently more than one million foreign residents in Korea. That is the kind of English you felt confident putting on your museum walls? Did you not think to employ one of the several thousand English teachers in Seoul to proofread your labels and text before painting poor grammar all over your walls next to priceless Warhol works?
Perhaps this is one more cultural difference I should add to my list of many I find hard to comprehend.
However, as both an artist and English teacher living in Korea where thousands are employed to teach, correct and edit English on a daily basis, Seoul Museum of Art has a little explaining to do.
In other words, pretty please, give me a ring before your next exhibit. I would be more than happy to look over any and all English text.
Elizabeth Groeschen, Seoul
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